Relationship of musculotendinous junction location to harvested semitendinosus and gracilis tendon length

Omer A. Ilahi, Eugene F. Stautberg, David J. Mansfield, Ali A. Qadeer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Harvested hamstring tendon length has received scant attention in published anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction literature, yet length can limit the ability to increase graft diameter by folding the tendon over more than once. Indeed, some ultrashort tendons may be too short to yield a clinically useful graft after being folded over just once. Ultimately, the total length of a harvested hamstring tendon may depend on the length of the tendon distal to its musculotendinous (MT) junction. Purpose: To compare the lengths of harvested hamstring tendons to the location of the MT junction to help predict abnormally short tendon harvest. Study Design: Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3. Methods: Eighty-four consecutive patients undergoing primary ACL reconstruction using hamstring tendon autografts underwent intraoperative measurement of the total length of each harvested semitendinosus (ST) and gracilis (G) tendon, as well as the distance from the MT junction to that tendon’s distal end (ie, the “tendon-only” length). Results: The ratio of the tendon-only portion to total harvested tendon length averaged 0.52 (range, 0.39-0.71) for the ST and 0.52 (range, 0.43-0.71) for the G, suggesting a 95% chance of harvesting a tendon <15 cm in length for the tendon-only portion is <6.45 cm for ST or <6.75 cm for G tendons. There was moderate correlation between the lengths of harvested ST and G tendons with patient height as well as with the diameter of the combined, quadruple-stranded graft. Conclusion: The ratio of the tendon-only length to total harvested length for both the ST and G appear to range from approximately 0.4 to 0.7. Patients with abnormally distal MT junctions of either their ST or G are likely to have an abnormally short harvest of that tendon, even in the absence of technical harvesting error.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2325967117704630
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017


  • ACL
  • Gracilis
  • Hamstring
  • Length
  • Semitendinosus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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